Drones' utility in agriculture means that research involving unmanned aircraft systems is common at Virginia Tech's 12 ARECs. Because the nature of agricultural drone work sometimes requires flights on short notice, and the safety risks in these rural areas are relatively low, the protocol for drone flights at the ARECs allows for more flexibility. 

The protocol includes the following requirements:

  • At the beginning of each growing season, each AREC director will submit an overview of planned flight activities for the following 12-month period at his or her site to the UAS Oversight Committee. 
  • In addition, individual operators will submit applications to the UAS Safety Office for the same 12-month period, describing planned flight areas and general operational parameters.
  • FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate.
  • Virginia Tech UAS Pilot training; contact the UAS Safety Office or vtdronepark@vt.edu.
  • Flights must be conducted under Part 107 regulations or an applicable exemption, COA, or waiver.  
  • Operators must seek permission for their planned operation in advance from the respective AREC director or supoervisor or the associate dean of the Agricultural Experiment Station. 

Questions? Contact the UAS Safety Office